NCLR Honors Advocates for America’s Hispanic Community at 25th Annual Capital Awards
March 06 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington—On the occasion of the silver anniversary of the NCLR (National Council of La Raza) Capital Awards, NCLR held its annual gala this evening at the National Building Museum in the District of Columbia, where the organization recognized Representative George Miller (D–CA), Paul W. Bridges, Republican Mayor of Uvalda, Georgia, and Kids In Need of Defense (KIND) for their unflagging commitment to the Latino community, especially Hispanic families, students and children.
“From a small ceremony in 1988, the NCLR Capital Awards has grown to become the oldest and largest Hispanic event of its kind. We are very proud to continue the tradition of honoring public officials and organizations from both sides of the aisle who are working hard on behalf of our community. Tonight’s honorees are some of the most steadfast and courageous allies Hispanics have in this great nation,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO.
More than 750 government officials, Hispanic leaders, and community activists were in attendance for the gala, which was hosted by Natalie Morales, news anchor for NBC’s TODAY.
NCLR’s Capital Awards recognizes politicians from both sides of the aisle, and this year NCLR chose to honor a politician outside of Congress. Mayor Bridges earned this distinction after stepping in to protect the farming community of Uvalda and its Hispanic residents by suing the state of Georgia over its dangerous anti-immigrant bill, HB 87.
“I stand with NCLR to correctly show the value of the contributions made by Latino immigrants and the strength of new enthusiasm that comes via their influence,” said Mayor Bridges. “I am honored to receive the Capital Award—more than I can say. While this one is awesome to receive, my true reward will be when ‘the people’ are united families, free from fear of losing their loved ones from unjust deportations, free from the oppression of state-created ‘anti-immigration laws,’ and ensured of work environments that are safe and fair. My desire is that each person touched by this note to make a personal commitment to call the White House to decry the apathy at the pain and suffering shoveled onto Latinos, their extended families, and on those of us who see its incivility.”
Meanwhile, the night’s other honoree, Rep. Miller, was recognized for his leadership as senior Democrat of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, where he has consistently championed educational equity and opportunity for all children, including Hispanic and English language learner students, as well as children with disabilities. Rep. Miller has helped shape education policy from Head Start through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Higher Education Act.
“I’m honored to be recognized by NCLR,” said Rep. Miller. “This organization really ‘gets it.’ NCLR’s members are fighting for our country’s future by fighting for our children—supporting investments in quality K–12 public schools and in early childhood education. Advocacy is one of the hardest jobs out there. And the advocacy that NCLR and its members carry out makes a huge difference not only for the Latino community but for our entire country.”
NCLR also presented the 2012 Public Service Award to KIND for its efforts to help children who have come to the United States without a parent or legal guardian and who are unable to find or afford an attorney to represent them in immigration proceedings.
“KIND is humbled by this great honor from NCLR, a leader in protecting the civil rights of Hispanic Americans,” said Brad Smith, KIND Board Co-Chair and Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Microsoft. “We accept this award on behalf of the thousands of unaccompanied children we serve with the help of our outstanding pro bono attorneys. These uniquely vulnerable children deserve a fair chance to make their claim for U.S. protection and to find safety and security, which many have not experienced in a long time, if ever. We thank NCLR for recognizing the work of KIND and our volunteers, and most importantly for acknowledging the vital due process needs of unaccompanied children in the United States.”
The NCLR Capital Awards is the premier Hispanic event to recognize members of Congress and other leading legislators from both sides of the aisle for their outstanding support of public policies that are vital to Hispanic Americans. In addition, the Public Service Award honors others outside of Washington who courageously and tirelessly advocate on behalf of the Latino community.
NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.
Issues: NCLR Capital Awards
Geography:California, Far West, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Texas